Hydra Project Introduces New Web Site at OR11

Wed, 2011-06-15 13:05 -- carol

Austin, TX Bright sun outside and and cool temperatures inside greeted more than 30 participants in the Hydra Workshop offered by Matt Zumwalt, Media Shelf, with help from his friends, on June 7, 2011 in Austin as part of OR11 pre-conference events.

Chris Awre and Matt Zumwalt at the OR11 Hydra Workshop

Chris Awre, University of Hull, and Matt Zumwalt, Media Shelf, at the OR11 Hydra Workshop.

Almost half of the Workshop participants had done work on Hydra code, and almost everyone was running, or had helped to develop at least one production repository.

Zumwalt began the session by asking the audience for help in understanding more about potential use cases such as using Hydra for accepting preprints of research articles, scientific datasets, archival collections, electronic theses and dissertations, images, or media. Most attendees had more than one use case.

He also introduced the new Hydra Project web site featuring the tag line “Eyes on the horizon, feet on the ground” as a location for new and existing community members to find up-to-date Hydra information:


The site highlights Hydra as a community as well as a technical framework with values that are based on collaboration, shared skills and the belief that everyone has a voice. Key information about how to get involved can be found on the homepage including:

Hydra on Github

Hydra Wiki

Hydra JIRA

Hydra Continuous Integration


Richard Green, Hull University, offered participants an overview of "Hydra in Hull."

Prior to Hydra the Hull University had a Fedora-based IR for 3 years with a wide range of content. Fedora does not have a default UI, so Hull used Muradora which ultimately did not have enough users to sustain it. Analysis led to understanding that searching, browsing and quick links to popular searches are top spots on the Hull IR web site.

Hull was looking for a repository solution that would integrate with their wider information architecture. They began collaborating with a group of US universities to reach this goal. Hull will launch a Hydra-based repository in Sept. 2011.

Green says, "We are pulling a bunch of stuff together in one place that is very disparate and it works.” The long term goal of unified searching over the catalog and the repository is in the future for Hydra at Hull.

Visit the Hydrangea in Hull blog for more information: http://hydrangeainhull.wordpress.com/2011/02/11/off-the-starting-blocks/.


Julie Meloni, University of Virginia Library, offered insights into the development of Libra at University of Virginia (UVa).

UVa is running a production instance of Libra (http://libra.virginia.edu/), another Hydra head, at UVa. The project began because UVa wanted to begin the process of preserving their own scholarly materials spurred on by a university resolution, new requirements from NSF and a need to preserve student theses.

UVa was already committed to the Hydra Project as one of the original collaborating institutions. They were looking for an end-to-end Fedora-based toolkit and realized that Hydrangea was a framework, not a turnkey solution that could meet their requirements:

1. Institutional solution should be undmediated
2. Sustainable accessibility to materials
3. Collection of depositor-designated metadata
4. Access and discovery of UVa scholarship
5. Depositor-designated permissions–if you get copyright permission you should be able to designate rights

Meloni reported that multiple collaborators were involved in gathering requirements and in helping to develop the Hydra code base.

“Even if it does not get into the common code base it gets into the common knowledge base." said Meloni.

The workshop concluded with question and answer discussions around combining Hydra technology and community in real practice, recoding Hydra to create a pluggable microservices layer, and access control and rights management in Hydra.

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